'My only brother, gone': Family mourns homicide victim
Man arrested in connection with death of 19-year-old Ahmad Afrah on Monday
The family of a man killed in the city's third homicide of 2017, after possibly falling from a highrise in Centretown Monday night, say they are shocked and grief-stricken.
"I was in pure disbelief," said Ahmad Afrah's 17-year-old brother, Ali. "I thought it was just a dream."
Ahmad Afrah's body was found just before 11 p.m. ET Monday at 415 MacLaren St. Ottawa police have deemed the 19-year-old's death suspicious and are investigating it as a homicide.
When first responders arrived on scene they found [Ahmad Afrah] lying on the ground," said police spokesman Const. Marc Soucy.
"It appeared he had fallen or jumped off the building ... and now we're in the process of a homicide investigation."
Yellow police tape could be seen tied to the rails of west-facing balconies below the 16th floor of the apartment building as police inside unit 1611 conducted their investigation Wednesday afternoon.
'I just couldn't believe what I was hearing'
Ahmad Afrah lived with his family in an apartment complex just a few streets away from where his body was discovered.
Ali Afrah said he found out about his brother's death the day after it happened at around 6 a.m.
"I was in my bed sleeping and my mom comes in through my room screaming, 'Ahmad's dead, Ahmad's dead,' and I just couldn't believe what I was hearing," he said.
"My only brother, gone."
Police confirmed Wednesday they had arrested a man in connection with the incident.
"From what I can tell he went there [for] a little gathering and it turned into something far worse," Ali Afrah said. "It's just unfortunate how the result of a little gathering of friends could cause this."
'Her son was taken from her'
Ali Afrah said his mother is devastated.
"She's heartbroken. She's grieving. Her son was taken from her earlier on than she ever wanted and now she has to deal with the aftermath of that situation," he said.
"We thankfully have had a loving community that reached out to us. Some of our neighbours even grieved with us. They cried as soon as they heard the news. They remember us because they knew us since we were just little kids, running around the halls."
He wants people to remember the things that made his brother special, rather than the circumstances of his death.
"I prefer them to remember the good in him ... the kindness that he shared with others, the unwavering optimism and just generosity that he had for other people," he said.
According to Ali Afrah, his brother — who would have turned 20 in November — was in his last year of high school at Lisgar Collegiate Institute and had a job lined up.
Police said the man charged in connection with his death will make a court appearance Thursday morning.